MOULES FRITES: HOLD THE FRITES
When you’re having a big, steaming bowl of mussels or clams, one of the best parts is sopping up the hearty, sumptuous broth at the bottom. Crusty bread is perfect, and crispy shoestring fries are a close second. But for those who seek a healthier alternative, popcorn may be just the ticket.
Yes, we have been avoiding getting our popcorn soggy up to this point, but when the stuff doing the sogging is rich, warming, white wine and shallot and butter perfection, we don’t mind a mouthful of popcorn soaked in it. You may even want to keep a bowl of the popcorn at your side to re-up throughout the meal.
THE ICING ON THE CAKE
Most people love popcorn, and most people love desserts. So it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that popcorn on or in dessert is a home run. You can look to the obvious, caramel corn, and all of its scrumptuous forms and variations: popcorn balls, Fiddle Faddle, Moose Munch from Harry & David…the tried-and-true team up of popcorn, caramel and virtually anything else is likely to end up delicious.
But a combination I find even more enticing (thought admittedly more naughty) is the pairing of lightly salted popcorn with cake frosting. I go crazy for a chocolate-frosted layer cake sprinkled with gently crushed, salted popcorn; a single, flavored (or even chocolate dipped) kernel of popcorn at the peak of cupcake is an easy, tasty garnish; and for kids, a fluffy popcorn rain that covers the whole cupcake can be even more fun, both to assemble and to eat!
MOVE OVER, MICROWAVE
Enjoy these simple, creative ways to get the most out of what most people know only as a snack food; and never be afraid to think outside the kernel (pun inevitably intended). Get popping (no pun intended), and remember that microwave popcorn should never be an option!
Stove-top popping takes literally five minutes and is easy as can be. You’ll also avoid diacetyl, a chemical used in the production of microwave popcorn that has caused “popcorn lung”—a disease that’s not at all tasty.
HOW TO POP CORN ON THE STOVE TOP
3 tablespoons grapeseed, peanut or safflower oil or other high smoke point oil
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
Salt and other optional seasonings
A deep, eavy-bottomed pot with lid
1. PLACE the oil in the pot and bring to temperature over a medium-high heat.
2. ADD three “test kernels.” When one or more of them pop, add the remaining popcorn kernels. Stir to coat with oil and cover with the lid.
4. SHAKE the pot gently to prevent the kernels from burning. Continue to shake until you can no longer hear kernels moving on the bottom of the pan. Err on the side of caution; popcorn burns easily.
6. TURN OFF the heat and continue to shake the pot. When you hear no movement, cautiously open the lid: You can get hit by flying kernels.
7. ADD optional seasonings immediately: Warm popcorn better absorbs butter, grated cheese, chile oil, spices, etc.
FIND MORE OF OUR FAVORITE POPCORN SNACKS AND POPCORN RECIPES.